NCDD Sponsor Shares Nevins Fellow Experience

NCDD has been part of the ongoing effort by Penn State’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy, to connect students from their Nevins Democracy Leaders Program to internships with individuals and organizations in the D&D, public engagement field. Which is why we are excited to share this blog piece from NCDD sponsor org The Jefferson Center about their recent intern’s experience working on the Minnesota Community Assembly Project. The Nevins Democracy Leaders Program is an incredible opportunity to host a D&D-trained student at no cost for two months during the summer.  You can learn more about the Nevins Democracy Leaders Program by checking out our earlier write-ups on the blog here and by listening to the Confab Call recording here.

We encourage you to read the Jefferson Center blog post below and you can find the original version on their site here.


The Minnesota Community Assemblies: Red Wing

This June and July the Jefferson Center hosted a Penn State student, Emma Rohan, made possible by Penn State’s Nevins Fellows program. Emma’s academic work focuses on education policy, and she came to us with experience in the field of deliberative democracy. While she was here, we were grateful for Emma’s support in the first of three Minnesota Community Assemblies — Red Wing. Below is Emma’s reflection on the experience.

It’s been an exciting and engaging start to the Minnesota Community Assembly Project (MNCAP)! This project, part of our Democratic Innovation Program, began in Red Wing over the course of three weekends. On Friday, June 9, participants gathered in the Red Wing Ignite event room, brimming with expectation and more than a little caffeine.

Eight full days of deliberation is a lot of work and commitment, but the thirty-six Red Wing citizens were in it for the long haul. Before they got down to business, participants had the chance to introduce themselves to their neighbors by sharing what they are sacrificing in order to be present at the Citizens Assembly. Taking care of children, enjoying free weekends with family, and going to work are just a few of the activities that participants agreed to forgo for this eight-day project, acknowledging that engaging in citizen-led democracy sometimes involves personal sacrifice.

These participants, randomly selected to reflect the demographics of their community, set out to learn about local government, discuss strengths and areas for improvement, identify the values underpinning good local government, and explore and recommend opportunities to ensure their local government reflects these values.

Participants learned about local government structures from experts around the globe – from Minnesota to Australia. Each equipped with a tablet, participants could vote on their preferred alternatives while visual representations of the results revealed themselves on the big screen. Bonds were forged as citizens helped each other navigate the digital voting system on their tablets.

During the second weekend, June 23-25, two guests joined the assembly in Red Wing to observe, though neither were new to the process. In the case of Ned Crosby, the founder of the Jefferson Center, this was an opportunity to see old processes in a new setting. As the creator of the Citizens Jury process in the United States, Dr. Crosby took the backseat this time, taking note of participation dynamics and exchanging ideas with our other guest observer, Neall Ireland.

A participant in a Canadian province-wide Citizens Assembly in British Columbia in 2004, Neil was captivated by the experience and makes it a habit to seek out opportunities to watch other assemblies in action around the globe: “I really enjoyed observing the Citizen’s Jury; found it particularly interesting to see how there is a common theme for in this type of process for the participants. It is my thought when educated to the issues and empowered, citizen participation truly is the most effective method of engagement and means to making impactful decisions for a constituency. I admire each of the individuals who have come forward to donate their time and contribute to their communities in a meaningful way. I am certain that each of the three communities engaged in the this process will move forward from it in a positive way and be a great example for other communities in the future.”

As the process moved along, time revealed that even cohesive and unified communities carry underlying tension. Discussions on participation responsibilities and representation in local government sparked contention, and the facilitated conversation unearthed divergent expectations and assumptions between community members. With careful attention paid to group dynamics and how a deliberation space may advantage some and silence others, it was refreshing to notice participants sort out their disagreements themselves over a snack break.

Citizens Juries aimed at the prospect of equipping people to evaluate the structure of their local governments and the platform to recommend changes is an undertaking which requires special consideration toward the role of the facilitator. As outsiders in a tight-knit community, the Jefferson Center team realizes the value of presentation of unbiased materials, giving participants space to share and respond to each other, and knowing when to step in to move the conversation along. Even so, navigating uncharted territory comes with miscalculations and oversights. End-of-the-day surveys gave participants the opportunity to share their feedback on the content and process of the event from a facilitation standpoint, and changes were incorporated in order to steer the group in the right direction.

The final weekend in Red Wing presented some of the largest challenges yet, while simultaneously inspiring some of the greatest displays of individual hard work and collective responsibility. With the deadline for the final recommendation by the Community Assembly fast approaching, participants worked together to craft their final recommendations and supporting statements, the report representing the culmination of their work together. Decisions about the presentation of the report were far from unanimous, and even after eight-hour days of deliberation, citizens in Red Wing stayed overtime to continue the discussion.

The Red Wing Community Assembly’s vision statement highlights some of the qualities of local government participants agreed were indispensable: “Our community needs a clear strategic vision, with leadership committed to working toward that vision. We’d like to see broad community participation, engagement, and communication – all aspects of transparency – to ensure community members are informed and engaged in developing and implementing our strategic vision and holding leadership accountable.” To accomplish this vision, the assembly advocated for a few alternatives to the status quo, such as ranked-choice voting, stronger financial disclosure requirements , better public meetings, and digital public engagement. It is important to note that support for these recommendations was not unanimous, and citizens had the opportunity to express their personal dissent or further recommendations by submitting a personal statement attached to the final report. See the final report in its entirety here.

By the end of our time in Red Wing, we couldn’t help but notice a renewed sense of ownership and personal stake in many of the citizens toward the governance of their communities. Several people shared new commitments they have undertaken since the Community Assembly got underway: people described their conversations with family and friends about the work they’ve done, several participants mentioned applying for local boards and commissions for the first time, and one participant even wrote a Letter to the Editor in the local newspaper. Regardless of the outcome, the value of forging these types of relationships between communities and their local governments cannot be overstated.

We are enthusiastic about the ways Red Wing will carry on this work beyond the formal process of the Community Assembly and into the community as a whole. One down, with Willmar and Brooklyn Park on deck!

You can find the original version of the Jefferson Center blog post at www.jefferson-center.org/red-wing-summary/.

NCDD Orgs Team up for Public Engagement Training

We wanted to let the NCDD network know about these training opportunities coming up with our friends at the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) and Public Agenda (PA). These two NCDD member orgs have teamed up to dive deep into public engagement skills at an in-person workshop in NYC, which also is part of PBP’s final module for their Summer Implementation Institute. Coming up this Weds July 26, is PBP’s final FREE webinar on breaking barriers for outreach during the Idea Collection phase – the third module in the Summer Implementation Institute. Next week, Public Agenda will doing a two-day workshop to strengthen public engagement strategy on July 31-August 1, with PBP presenting their session on the second day.

Coming up…

  • THIS Weds July 26: final FREE webinar with PBP, from 3pm – 5pm Eastern, 12pm – 3pm Pacific
  • July 31st: Public Agenda workshop in NYC
  • August 1st: Joint workshop with PBP and Public Agenda in NYC

To RSVP for the PBP webinar, click here. To register for the PA and/or PBP in-person NYC workshop[s], click here. For more on PBP’s Summer Implementation Institute, follow the hashtag #PBPInstitute on Twitter for more participant quotes, questions, and experiences! You can read the announcements from PBP and PA below or find the original on PA’s site here.


From the Participatory Budgeting Project

At the Participatory Budgeting Project, we’re wrapping up the first-ever PB Network Summer Implementation Institute with a final free webinar on Wednesday and an in-person session in NYC on August 1st.

On our final free webinar, we’re talking about outreach strategies used to generate ideas from non-English speakers, young people and court-involved people during Idea Collection!

Kenneth Tang from the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) and our West Coast Project Manager, Francesco Tena, will present on their local experience in two flagship PB processes: Oakland (the first process to do PB with federal funds in the U.S.) and Boston (the first youth PB process in the U.S.)

Join other PB-implementing staff and officials from across North America to:

  • Discuss record-breaking outreach strategies.
  • Dive into the challenges and benefits of using innovative outreach tactics in PB idea collection.
  • Collaboratively brainstorm ways to improve and expand outreach in communities where there are barriers to civic participation.
  • Receive tools and resources to use in your PB processes and in your work more broadly.

Likewise, if you’re interested in taking community leadership in government to the next level, join our in-person Steering Committees 101 workshop hosted in New York City next month, in partnership with Public Agenda. This session is focused on building and sustaining effective community leadership in democratic processes.

When: Tuesday August 1
Where: New York City
Cost: $200 REGULAR admission and $75 STUDENT admission. Or, check out the registration page for the full two-day workshop on public engagement with Public Agenda!
Register: Here

Hope to see you Wednesday and in August!

From Public Agenda

Looking for assistance with organizing and sustaining productive public engagement? Struggling to decide how to use online engagement tools? Frustrated with the standard “2 minutes at the microphone” public meeting? Need expert advice on bringing together a diverse critical mass of people?

Our Public Engagement team is leading a 1.5 day workshop on how you can hone an effective engagement strategy along with a special session led by our friends at the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP).

On July 31, Public Agenda’s Matt Leighninger and Nicole Cabral will:

  • Provide an overview of the strengths and limitations of public engagement today;
  • Help you assess the strengths and weaknesses of public engagement in your community;
  • Explore potential benefits of more sustained forms of participation;
  • Demonstrate a mix of small group and large group discussions, interactive exercises, case studies and practical application exercises

On Aug 1, during Session 1, we’ll focus more squarely on options and next steps that participants can take in their communities. These sessions will help participants to:

  • Develop skills for planning stronger engagement systems;
  • List existing community assets that can be instrumental for sustained engagement;
  • Anticipate common challenges to planning for stronger systems;
  • Develop an initial set of next steps to pursue.

During the afternoon session of August 1, PBP will present “Steering Committees 101: Centering community experience & expertise.”

This PBP session is part of PBP’s first-ever Summer Implementation Institute hosted by the North American Participatory Budgeting Network, consisting of 4 modules. The in-person session in New York City is preceded by three online webinars. Each module focuses on a particular phase of participatory budgeting (PB) starting with the PB vote and working backwards through proposal development, idea collection, and building a PB process with community leaders. Along with registering for this in-person session, you can RSVP for the three webinars from PBP here.

The in-person session in New York City is focused on building and sustaining effective community leadership in democratic processes. Here, leaders in community engagement will come together to share experiences, discuss pain points, and solve challenges. This session stems from an asset-based approach to community leadership within PB and beyond. Although focused on PB, this session is applicable to all public engagement practices centered in community experience and expertise.

You can find the original announcement on Public Agenda’s website at www.publicagenda.org/pages/workshop-public-engagement-strategy-in-new-york-city.

DDPE Graduate Certificate Offers NCDD Member Discount

We are pleased to share that the Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement (DDPE) Graduate Certificate program at Kansas State University will offer NCDD members a 10% discount! [Fun fact: the price of your annual NCDD membership pays for itself with JUST this discount and there are so many more benefits!] The DDPE program is an opportunity to strengthen skills and understanding around theory and practice of leading groups in collaborative decision-making. The deadline for registration is August 21st, so make sure you register ASAP before it’s too late. Please feel free to contact Timothy J. Shaffer, PhD at tjshaffer[at]ksu[dot]edu with any questions.

You can learn more about the K-State DDPE program below or find the original on KSU’s site here.


Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement Graduate Certificate

Designed to be a transformative experience for graduate students and professionals, this program covers the practice and theory of leading groups through collaborative decision-making. Through a series of four courses, students will learn:

  • approaches to participatory planning and collaborative decision-making that are supported by sound scholarship
  • communication and leadership skills for designing and leading productive meetings
  • dialogic practices for developing and maintaining constructive working relationships and managing conflict
  • proven frameworks selecting or designing engagement processes for organizations, stakeholders, or whole communities
  • a wide range of tools and techniques for engaging small and large groups to address conflicts, explore alternatives and inform policy
  • principles and practices that move groups toward sustainable action that changes lives

Courses are presented in a hybrid format, with some offered completely online and others having face to face interaction. Students will interact regularly with each other and leaders in the field, who serve as collaborating guest faculty. A capstone engagement project concludes the certificate. Recognized as one of the most valued parts of the program, it provides opportunities for coached practice with faculty and seasoned practitioners.

Students in the program may pursue a 12-hour graduate certificate by enrolling in the courses for credit. The DDPE program is also designed for individuals who desire noncredit professional development instead of academic credit.

Noncredit Registration Information
The information below is intended for those who do not wish to receive academic credit for DDPE courses. Program fees do not cover potential travel costs associated with the face-to-face components of the Process Models and Capstone Experience courses. A 10 percent discount is available for National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation members. Registrants who do not have a Kansas State University eID will be required to obtain one after registering for the program. Instructions for requesting an eID will be provided in the registration confirmation email.

Full program fee: $3,800.00

Individual course fees (courses must be taken in sequence):

  • Theoretical Foundations (online): $1,000
  • Process Models (online and face to face): $1,000
  • Core Skills and Strategies (online): $1,000
  • Capstone Experience (online and face to face): $1,000

REGISTER NOW

For questions about registering for noncredit, please contact the Conferences and Noncredit Programs registration office at 785-532-5569 or 800-432-8222. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT Monday through Friday.

Careers in Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement
The DDPE prepares graduate students and professionals to better serve communities through effective facilitation, communication, and leadership. Those in the following careers will be well-served by the program:

– city managers
– mediators
– Extension professionals
– community and organizational development specialists
– conflict resolution professionals
– county and city planners
– public servants
– elected officials

Accreditation
Kansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The graduate certificate in Dialogue, Deliberation, and Public Engagement is offered through the Department of Communication Studies in the K-State College of Arts and Sciences.

Informed by the growing field of academic research dedicated to improving public deliberation, this practice-oriented certificate answers a demand from practitioners for an in-depth, graduate-level treatment of public engagement. The longstanding noncredit version of the program was created collaboratively with the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue, the Kettering Foundation, the Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy, University of Western Sydney, and the Public Dialogue Consortium. Designed and championed by the late Barnett Pearce, the program has an international alumni base representing the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Denmark, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia and Haiti.

The original version of the DDPE program information at http://global.k-state.edu/artsci/ddpe/.

Kettering and NIFI Offer CGA Training for Educators

We wanted to give educators in the NCDD network a heads up about the upcoming training from NCDD member org, Kettering Foundation, on using the online deliberation platform, Common Ground for Action. On August 15 & 16, Kara Dillard and Amy Lee of Kettering, will host a two-hour session training each day on how to use this online deliberation platform in the classroom; including: how to convene and moderate a forum, best practices, and classroom design ideas. The training on August 15th will be from 1-3pm Eastern/ 10am-12pm Pacific & on August 16th from 3-5pm Eastern/12-2pm Pacific. The announcement below was from the most recent NIFI Moderator’s Circle listserv email (sent June 28th) – contact NIFI to learn more about joining this list.

Make sure you register ASAP to secure your spot for the CGA Training for Educators here.


Calling All Teachers!

HIGH SCHOOL, MIDDLE SCHOOL, COLLEGE
LEARN ABOUT USING ONLINE FORUMS IN THE CLASSROOM
August 15 & 16, 2017

ENCOURAGING DIALOGUE IN THE CLASSROOM

Want to help students exchange views on the tough issues facing our country?

Want to help students use their critical thinking skills on current events?

Want to know more about using online forums in the classroom?

This August, over two consecutive days, Kettering and National Issues Forums Institute will host a moderator training session for K-12 and college faculty interested in using online Common Ground for Action (CGA) forums in the classroom.

The sessions will cover:
– How to set up a CGA forum
– The moderator’s responsibilities
– Hacks and tricks for moderating
– Practice exercises on setting up and moderating forums
– Q & A on integrating CGA forums into the classroom
– Potential assignments and evaluation metrics

WHEN: Tuesday, August 15, 1:00-3:00 pm (EDT) and Wednesday, August 16, 3:00-5:00 pm (EDT) REGISTER HERE

Participating is easy. You need a computer with internet access and speakers. A microphone is helpful, but not required. Register to participate and you’ll get an email with all the details.

Interested to learn more about the Common Ground for Action forum? Check out the video below from NIFI to find out how to participate in a CGA forum.

You can register for the CGA Moderators Training for Educators at http://conta.cc/2tqiIY2

Save the Date for David Mathew Center’s 2017 Civic Institute

The NCDD member organization, David Mathews Center for Civic Life announced the date for their upcoming 2017 Civic Institute on August 18. The 2017 Civic Institute is a day-long opportunity to meet with fellow civic engagement enthusiasts and practitioners to explore the future of Alabama. Participants choose one of three event tracks to delve into deeper during Civic Institute, which are: building civic infrastructure, renewing civic education, and creating civic media. This event will also serve as the official launch of the three year forum series, What’s Next, Alabama? which will be an opportunity for Alabamians to envision the future of their communities. We encourage you to read more about the 2017 Civic Institute in the announcement from David Mathews Center below or find the original version here.


2017 Civic Institute – Save the Date: August 18, 2017

The 2017 Civic Institute is your chance to connect with civic-minded change-makers and thought leaders from across Alabama in a dialogue on our state’s past, present, and future. From the morning panel discussion on the “geography of economic prosperity” in rural and urban communities, to the keynote address by Dr. David Mathews, (President and CEO of the Kettering Foundation), the day will be packed with engaging speakers and interactive sessions centered around some of the most profound issues we encounter as Alabamians.

Participants are able to choose among three different learning tracks for the day, including: building civic infrastructure, renewing civic education, and creating civic media. Each track includes a deliberative forum in the morning, as well as an interactive workshop in the afternoon–all in addition to the panel discussion and keynote address, which will be delivered over lunch!

With our state’s bicentennial on the horizon, we believe that the Civic Institute is the perfect event to collectively ponder the power of our citizens and our communities to build the kind of Alabama they want to call home. To this extent, the Civic Institute will serve as the official, statewide launch of the DMC’s newest forum series, aptly titled, What’s Next, Alabama?

This series is a three-year endeavor, focused on what economic prosperity means in different communities across our state. The series will conclude in 2019, coinciding with Alabama’s bicentennial celebrations, and will frame the conversation about our future, even as we celebrate our past.

2017 Civic Institute Learning Tracks:

Building Civic Infrastructure:
This learning track is tailor-made for those wanting to engage their own communities in dialogue and deliberation around important local issues. The morning forum is an abridged “What’s Next, Alabama?” forum, entitled, “The State We’re In.” This will be a deliberative experience in which participants will ask, “where are we now” as a state? What is the story of Alabama at the start of the 21st century? How far have we come? How far do we have to go? Instead of focusing on the assets and challenges of a single locale, this forum will give participants the opportunity to embrace a statewide perspective in order to reimagine the productive potential of what binds us together collectively, and what sets us apart from each other idiosyncratically.

The afternoon workshop, “Building Civic Infrastructure,” will equip participants with the tools necessary to engage their own community in dialogue and deliberation. From naming and framing local issues, to convening and moderating forums, participants will receive a crash course in the building of a meaningful and durable civic infrastructure capable of supporting and sustaining a robust public life for its citizens. The aim of the workshop is to give participants everything they need to bring “What’s Next, Alabama?” forums to their own communities.

Renewing Civic Education:
This track is perfect for educators, government officials, and anyone else interested in transforming the idea of civic engagement into real action. This learning track begins with a deliberative forum on the state of civic education (and education more broadly) in Alabama. With renewed interest in civic education statewide, this forum will be an opportunity to discuss what civic education could and should look like beyond the classroom. How do we get young people to be active citizens in their own communities? How can we create synergy between the classroom and the community? Is there a curricular way to achieve this, or should we also broaden our own understanding of youth engagement to include students and young people playing an active role in local government? These are some of the questions that will frame the morning discussion.

The afternoon workshop, “Community as Classroom: Equipping Youth for Civic Leadership” will give attendees a chance to connect with–and learn from–local elected officials from all over the state that are breaking new ground when it comes to young people playing an active role in their communities. Participants will hear from local elected officials about how they are working side by side with youth to confront the epidemic of brain-drain, retain the young talent they have in their communities, and propel that next generation into civic leadership roles.

Creating Civic Media:
This track is ideal for those interested in the fields of media, journalism, art, technology, and public life. To begin, attendees will participate in a group discussion entitled, “Flipping the Script: A Dialogue on Media, Representation, and the Role of Alabama in the National Imagination.” This dialogue is meant to elucidate ideas about the role that our state plays–willingly or unwillingly–on the national stage. We will discuss the production of “Alabama” as an archetype in traditional media and popular culture, before being introduced to emergent forms of media that serve to disrupt the conventional representations of Alabama as a monolith. This dialogue will lead naturally into the afternoon workshop, where participants will get a hands-on primer into actually creating civic media that defies typification and demands nuance.

The afternoon workshop, “Creating Civic Media: Provoking Thought, Inviting Action” is a crash course in solutions-oriented journalism and restorative narratives, aimed at creating connections among citizens and journalists to bridge the gap between statewide or national media outlets and local stories that often go unnoticed. Participants will learn best practices for crafting an op-ed piece for their local newspaper, or for a larger outlet. This workshop will teach participants how to take a local story from abstract idea to published piece. This is your chance to connect with other journalists, writers, and active citizens to tell your community’s story, reframe the narrative, and flip the script.

You can find the original announcement from David Mathews Center at: www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-civic-institute-tickets-33344668802

Thanking Roshan for His Contributions to NCDD

We’re sad to announce that NCDD’s Blog Curator and Youth Engagement Coordinator, Roshan Bliss, is leaving NCDD this month to accept a position in Denver as a community organizer with a group called Together Colorado. Roshan has been with NCDD for over four years, and has left quite a mark on NCDD and our members who have worked with him.

Sandy and I first met Roshan as we were planning the 2012 NCDD Conference in Seattle. Roshan jumped in and served as our volunteer coordinator at the conference, and we were impressed by his energy, enthusiasm, and organization! He made the conference process smooth for us both, and we knew we had to scoop him up and get him involved with NCDD. He joined the team as our Blog Curator shortly thereafter.

Many of you may know him more recently as our Youth Engagement Coordinator, working hard at the 2014 and 2016 NCDD Conferences to bring students and young professionals to the conferences and engaging them in conversations with one another and with mentors for a mutual exchange of insights and guidance. Roshan has always been a strong advocate for creating more regular programming for students and newcomers to the field, and he took the lead in launching our new Emerging Leaders Initiative in 2016.

Roshan’s NCDD email address will remain active for now, and he’ll continue to work with NCDD periodically. Keiva Hummel, who has served as our Resource Curator for several years, will be taking on a new role of Communications Coordinator and taking over responsibility for the blog. She and I will also be working together to ensure the Emerging Leaders Initiative continues to develop and grow.

Roshan has done a lot for NCDD and our field, and he will continue to be an active member of our community. But we’ll miss working with him daily at NCDD! We’re thrilled for him and look forward to hearing more about the great work he will be doing. Please join us in thanking him for all of his contributions and congratulating him on this new and exciting opportunity!

New Video on Bringing Participatory Budgeting in Schools

We are excited to announce that NCDD member org – The Participatory Budgeting Project recently released a new video on bringing participatory budgeting in schools. The video is on the recent participatory budgeting pilot in 5 Phoenix high schools, where more than 3,800 students participated in their first PB process. We encourage you to read more about the new PB in Schools video below or find the original on the Participatory Budgeting Project’s blog here.


NEW VIDEO – Participatory Budgeting in Schools

We are proud to share our newest tool to make civics education meaningful by putting real money on the table, our new Participatory Budgeting (PB) in Schools video!

This video introduces you to participatory budgeting in schools by showing you how it worked in Phoenix. Featuring interviews with students, teachers, principals, local elected officials, and the superintendent — see how PB can be a tool for learning democracy while building stronger schools.

Check out Participatory Budgeting in Schools from PBP on Vimeo.

Now we need your help to share the video and redefine the way democracy is learned.

1. Share this video!
Connect with students, parents, educators, school administrators, PTAs or anyone who wants to see the future of democracy start today. PB takes work from committed volunteers, but learning the importance of real democracy as a school community is worth it!

2. Download the guide to PB in Schools.
Get 18 lessons, 6 worksheets, and everything you need to bring PB to a school budget!
Students will learn to work collaboratively, conduct research, solve problems, present solutions, build empathy, deepen community, and explore why participation in democracy matters.

3. Learn more!
Sign up for our newsletter so you never miss an update about the future of PB in Schools.

Consider looking back to read our previous posts about PB in Schools—including the district-wide funds PB process that was featured in the video! [blog post link]

4. Join the community of supporters that make this work possible.
We’re really into this participatory budgeting thing.

Every year we set aside half the money raised by individuals to let our community directly decide how to spend it to make PB more equitable and effective. We call it PB2 (or “PB squared”), it’s PB for PBP.

We know that all PB processes address big concerns. It’s been surprising and exciting to see that for the last two years, our supporters have chosen to support PB processes in schools. You funded the PB in Schools Guide in 2015. In 2016, you supported this new advocacy video.

See what’s on the 2017 PB Ballot and donate to start building the pot of money for next year!

Support from donors lets us try new things. Without this support, thousands of students would never have had the opportunity to directly decide a portion of their school budgets.
PB works because you show up. Thank you for making democracy better with us.

You can find the original version of this blog post from the Participatory Budgeting Project at: www.participatorybudgeting.org/new-video-participatory-budgeting-schools/

Phoenix Students Spend $26K in District-Wide PB Process

We are proud to share that the Participatory Budgeting Project – an NCDD member org – recently completed the first-ever school district-wide participatory budgeting in Phoenix, AZ, and it was a huge success. The process empowered over 3,500 students to deliberate and vote on how to spend $26,000 of district money, and the project’s success is already being looked to as a model for more school PB processes in the future. It’s a great win for teaching D&D practices to more young people! We encourage you to read more about how it went in the PBP blog update below or find the original here.


What Happens When Students Lead PB?

“Let’s rock and roll!” shouted Christopher Oglesby, Assistant Principal at Carl Hayden Community High School, to a team huddle of 30 spirited students. The group dispersed in all directions and prepared to welcome over 1,500 student voters to the gym.

This team of student leaders – along with school district staff, nonprofit partners, and volunteers – met just before the Phoenix sunrise to set up thousands of ballots and stickers, 40 voting booths, dozens of blue and gold posters, eight voter check-in stations, three display boards, and two official Maricopa County vote machines.

During this workshop, students, teachers, and staff from five public high schools in the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) learned about PB, and began planning how students in each school would directly decide on how to spend part of the school district’s budget. Six months ago, in September of 2016, we kicked off  the school year in Phoenix with an introductory workshop on participatory budgeting (PB) – a democratic process in which local people directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.

PUHSD was the first school district in the U.S. to do school PB with district-wide funds. Since their introduction to PB in September, five schools have worked through six months of trainings, outreach efforts, idea collection events, and meetings with district staff to transform ideas about ways to improve their schools into project proposals. These student-led efforts culminated with an entire week of voting – five voting days that each began before the sun came up.

Making history in Phoenix made for deep learning about school PB

As the school district begins implementing winning projects at each school, we’re reflecting on the outcomes we’ve already seen beyond projects themselves. During Vote Week Dr. Chad Gestson, PUHSD Superintendent, said,

“If there are any schools or districts across the country that are thinking about doing school PB, in our opinion it’s a no-brainer.”

Impacts from this district-wide initiative underscore Dr. Gestson’s point, and highlight the potential for PB to create similar outcomes for students, teachers, school district staff, and beyond. When schools or school districts use PB to empower their students to decide how to spend the dollars that impact their daily lives, everyone wins.

Students

PB helped students build friendships across grade levels. Many students talked about the ways being involved in PB increased their own self-confidence and ability to talk with fellow students about how to improve their school.

Teachers

Teachers who stepped up to advise PB at each school developed stronger relationships with students outside their regular classes, and enjoyed seeing students learn and lead with great creativity and compassion throughout the PB process.

School District Staff

The PUHSD Executive Director of Logistics was so excited to see so much student interest in school maintenance and facilities that he’s planning to incorporate student input and participation into school improvement initiatives beyond the winning PB projects – including repainting some of the schools and renovating cafeterias.

Beyond PUHSD

City staff and community organizers from the City of Phoenix and the City of Tempe, and from as far away as Fresno, CA, and Toronto, Ontario attended a vote walkthrough and panel discussion with students, teachers, and staff involved in PB. These staff members and community organizers were excited by the work happening in the school district, and several are already planning for ways to bring PB to their communities!

And the winning projects are…

Drumroll, please!

During Vote Week, 3,854 students in five public high schools – an average of over 80% turnout rate – directly decided how to spend $26,000 in school district funds. Students voted to fund music programs, filtered water stations, shade structures, and a study lounge.


Teamwork made this dream work

In any community, a successful PB process is built on strong collaboration.

PUHSD PB took teamwork to the next level, and established partnerships across Phoenix that have already inspired other school districts and cities to reimagine ways to work together.

During Vote Week, the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office generously partnered with PUHSD; they provided voting booths, official vote machines and ballots, and staff support for each voting day. In doing so, County Recorder Adrian Fontes and his office created a voting experience that embodied real democracy just as an election does – and in some ways did so even better.

Recorder Fontes has confidence that “there are other elected officials around the country just like [him] who would be more than happy to come on out and help support these sorts of elections with staff and equipment.”

“[PB] is part of education that’s not testable” he said, “isn’t this one of the most important aspects of our American democracy?”

Beyond support from an elected official, local partners from across Phoenix came together with commitment and creativity to support this student-driven initiative. This successful Vote Week was due in great part to the time, talent, and remarkable volunteers from the Center for the Future of Arizona, One Arizona, Mi Familia Vota, and Arizona State University.

Telemundo, NPR’s KJZZ, and Arizona PBS each covered Vote Week, and produced compelling news reports linked below:

Cronkite News AZ PBS’s coverage of Phoenix Union High School District PB process goes from 16:00 – 17:45 in this video.
More coverage of the first PB process with school district funds from 91.5 KJZZ.

What’s next for Phoenix?

We’ll wrap up this pilot year in PUHSD with a PB Celebration and Participatory Evaluation Workshop in May – where students, teachers, and staff from all five schools will come together to celebrate their work, reflect on what was challenging and what can be improved, and share ideas and plans for next year.

What’s next for you?

At PBP, we’re excited to see the movement for PB in schools continue to spread across Phoenix, and beyond! Our guide to PB in schools is supporting the growth of PB in schools around the world – download it here to take action.

How can we work together to bring PB to your community?

If you’re interested in more in-depth support from PBP to launch PB in your school, contact Ashley Brennan at ashley@participatorybudgeting.org.

You can find the original version of this Participatory Budgeting Project piece at www.participatorybudgeting.org/what-happens-when-students-lead-pb.

Participate in DC-Area Moderator Training for Higher Ed

We encourage our DC-area NCDD members in higher ed – students, faculty, and staff – to consider attending a training for deliberative dialogue moderators this April 29. The training is hosted by the American Democracy ProjectThe Democracy Commitment and the Kettering Foundation in preparation for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement meeting on June 9 in Baltimore, which we also encourage our NCDD higher ed folks to attend. You can read more in ADP’s announcement below or find the original version here.


Deliberative Dialogue Moderator Training Workshop in Washington, DC

AASCU’s American Democracy Project and The Democracy Commitment, in partnership with the Kettering Foundation, are proud to announce a special professional development opportunity for area students, faculty, and staff interested in a moderator training for deliberative dialogues.

We will be hosting a Deliberative Dialogue Moderator Training Workshop on Saturday, April 29, 2017, from 10am – 2pm at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), 1307 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005.

Hosts:

  • Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, American Democracy Project National Manager, AASCU
  • Verdis LeVar Robinson, National Director, The Democracy Commitment

Trainers:

  • John R. Dedrick, Vice President and Program Director, Kettering Foundation
  • Kara Lindaman, Professor of Political Science/Public Administration, Winona State University (Minn.)
  • William Muse, President Emeritus, National Issues Forum Institute
  • John J. Theis, Director of the Center For Civic Engagement, Lone Star College (TX)

Democratic dialogue and deliberation build civic capacities and consciences to tackle the highly salient and most complex wicked problems facing communities today. It rejects the expert model of technical expertise and specialization towards a truly democratic framework of accessibility and empowerment.

The practice of dialogue and deliberation cultivates student abilities necessary to explore enduring and multidisciplinary questions and solve persistent public problems. Thus, the capacities necessary for productive and meaningful dialogue and deliberation – critical thinking, empathic listening, creative problem solving, ethical leadership, collaboration, issue framing – are not only essential for sustaining a vibrant democracy, they are the best preparation for our students/citizens/graduates to be successful in the 21st century.

This training will guarantee your eligibility to be a moderator at our 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) meeting’s Dialogue and Deliberation Plenary Session: ” Safety and Justice: How Should Communities Reduce Violence?” on Friday, June 9, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Please join us for this free training by registering HERE by Friday, March 31, 2017.  Lunch will be provided. Click here for the tentative agenda.

For questions and more information, please contact Verdis L. Robinson at robinsonv@aascu.org or (202) 476-4656.

You can find the original version of this announcement from The Democracy Committment at www.thedemocracycommitment.org/deliberative-dialogue-moderator-training-workshop-washington-dc.

School-Community Engagement Conference in New England

If you’re based in the New England region, we encourage you to check out the annual School Redesign in Action conference this March 27-28 in Hartford. The interface between schools and the communities they serve is a space full of under-explored possibilities for our field to grow – not to mention a great way to expose more young people to D&D methods – so we’re excited that the conference planners have included a whole track this year focused on increasing community engagement for schools. Regular registration is $325, but the deadline to register is Mon., March 13, so act fast! You can learn more about the conference in their announcement below or by visiting the conference website here.


School Redesign in Action is the New England Secondary School Consortium’s eighth annual conference for educators and stakeholders from across the country to share success stories, exchange best practices, and continue to build momentum for innovations that will prepare all students for success in the colleges, careers, and communities of the 21st century.

WHEN:  Monday, March 27th, 1:00-5:00pm + Tuesday, March 28th,  8:00am-2:30pm

WHERE:  Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Blvd · Hartford, CT 06103

WHO:  Educators, students, community stakeholders, policy makers, and teams from secondary schools along with career and technical education centers and higher education from across the country engaged in school improvement

NEW THIS YEAR! A strand dedicated to school-community engagement

Across New England, educators are increasingly aware that meaningful family and community engagement is vital to student achievement and that educators must effectively engage stakeholders to develop more equitable schools. But what does authentic engagement entail? How can educators make the shift from event-based, often-siloed strategies to deeper, more powerful approaches to engagement? And how can communities and educators come together to challenge inequities and effect lasting change for youth?

To explore these questions and more, this year’s School Redesign in Action conference incorporates a strand of presentations and workshops that will increase participants’ capacity to foster authentic school-community engagement, establish meaningful relationships with marginalized groups in schools and/or communities, and strengthen partnerships and systems to improve outcomes for all students.

Below is a preview of the sessions in the student, family, and community engagement strand. To see the full program, visit this page.

  • What’s Equity Got to Do With It?: Creating a Pathway for All Students to Succeed
    Everyday Democracy | Hartford, Connecticut
  • Empowering Parents and Families: Building Leadership Skills and Capacity Inside and Outside the School System
    Annenberg Institute for School Reform | Providence, Rhode Island
  • Recalibrating School-Wide Discipline and Student Support: Building a Restorative and Accountable Approach
    Engaging Schools | Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Reaching Across Language and Culture: Engaging Multilingual Families from Diverse Backgrounds
    Portland Public Schools Multilingual and Multicultural Center | Portland, Maine
  • Where Equity and Engagement Meet: From Funding to Implementation of Community-School Partnerships that Close Opportunity Gaps
    Puget Sound Educational Service District | Puget Sound, Washington
  • Being an Adult Ally: Practical Strategies for Emplowering Youth Voice, Agency, and Leadership
    Providence Student Union + Young Voices | Providence, Rhode Island
  • Building a Positive School Culture and Community Using Restorative Practices
    Prospect Hill Academy Charter School | Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Students as Change Agents for Personalization: Infusing Purpose, Meaning, and Hope In School Redesign
    Up for Learning | East Hardwick, Vermont
  • Opening Doors: How Home Visits Can Strengthen School-Family Relationships in the Upper Grades
    1647 | Boston, Massachusetts
  • Teachers as Designers: A Human-Centered Approach to Solving Problems – and Creating New Opportunities – in Schools
    Business Innovation Factory | Providence, Rhode Island
  • Authentic School-Family Partnerships: What Works and Why It Matters
    Lawrence CommunityWorks | Lawrence, Massachusetts

Financial Assistance

As part of the New England Secondary School Consortium’s commitment to improving equity, access, and diversity, we are offering a limited number of reduced-price registrations to community-based nonprofit organizations and parent or community leaders who either support youth or work in partnership with their local schools*. Applicants will be asked to demonstrate financial need and articulate how they anticipate the conference will benefit their work, organization, schools, and/or community.

Applications for financial assistance are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 13, 2017.

You can learn more and register for the School Redesign in Action conference at www.newenglandssc.org/conference/conference-details.